A historic military chapel in New York State hosted its first-ever homosexual wedding yesterday.
West Point, the nation’s oldest military academy, facilitated two lesbians Saturday who sought to get married at the stately Cadet Chapel, which first opened in 1836. Penelope Gnesin and Brenda Sue Fulton, the latter of whom graduated from the academy, exchanged vows in a ceremony led by a senior Army chaplain.
Both women are from New Jersey and have reportedly been living together for 17 years. Since the state of New Jersey prohibits same-sex “weddings,” they decided to travel to New York and have the ceremony performed there. However, Fulton told reporters that when she requested to use the chapel for the service, she was informed that none of the chaplains at the academy come from denominations that support same-sex relationships. Therefore, the two asked a friend, Army Chaplain Colonel J. Wesley Smith of Dover Air Force in Delaware, to also travel to the state to officiate the ceremony.
Last year, Barack Obama named Fulton to the West Point Board of Visitors, which made her the first openly-homosexual board member at the academy. His appointment followed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” of which Saturday’s ceremony is believed to be a direct result. Prior to the repeal, while homosexuals could serve in the military, they were prohibited from engaging in open homosexual behavior, and their fellow soldiers could not inquire about their sexuality.
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was officially voided in September 2011 after it was overturned by both houses of Congress in 2010. One of the most prominent congressmen that voted for the repeal was Senator Ron Paul of Texas.
“It isn’t the issue of homosexuality, it’s the concept and understanding of individual human rights,” Paul stated at a 2008 presidential debate when asked to outline his position.
Paul also explained to Iowa State Daily last year, “The government has no business in your private life, you know, so if one person is allowed to do something, so should everyone else. The whole gay marriage issue is a private affair, and the federal government has no say.”
In September of this year, Barack Obama celebrated the one-year anniversary of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” by issuing a presidential statement.
“Gay and lesbian Americans now no longer need to hide who they love in order to serve the country they love,” he said.
However, throughout America’s history, homosexuality has been sharply proscribed in the nation, including in the military. In 1778, General George Washington ordered Lieutenant Frederick Gotthold Enslin to be drummed out of the camp for “attempting to commit sodomy” with a male soldier. His March 14th proclamation stated, “His Excellency, the Commander in Chief, approves the sentence, and with abhorrence and detestation of such infamous crimes, orders Lieut. Enslin to be drummed out of camp tomorrow morning by all the drummers and fifers in the Army never to return; the drummers and fifers to attend on the Grand Parade at guard mounting for that purpose.”
“Allowing open homosexuality in the armed forces had nothing to do with enhancing the combat effectiveness of our military, and everything to do with pandering to the homosexual lobby,” writes the Save America Foundation in an article entitled George Washington Turning Over in His Grave as Pentagon Celebrates Sodomy. “Since the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, homosexual activists have accelerated advances of their homosexual agenda within the armed forces, including recognition of gay marriages, performance of marriages in military chapels, and gay pride celebrations at U.S military academies.”
While “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” allows for homosexual “weddings” to take place on military bases, the Defense of Marriage Act, signed into law in 1996 by then President Bill Clinton, prohibits the government from recognizing homosexual relationships. However, the United States Supreme Court is currently weighing whether it will hear one of the several challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act, and a decision could come as soon as Monday.
Although yesterday’s event was the first-ever homosexual “wedding” to be held at Cadet Chapel, just last week, another same-sex ceremony took place at a non-religious location on the West Point base.
Until approximately 40 years ago, West Point required all cadets to faithfully attend church services out of its devotion to God and His word.
“Occasionally some friend, parent, or new cadet will question the wisdom of obligatory chapel attendance. A former Commandant of Cadets answered this statement by saying that, should such emphasis on religion be neglected, West Point would fail in its mission,” an online 1958 publication about the history and beliefs of the academy outlines. “It is the Academy’s task to prepare as officers men who hold ‘duty’ as a sacred trust; ‘honor,’ a hallowed possession; ‘country,’ a treasured heritage. This type of man, the Commandant believed, can never be developed if God and His worship are left out of a man’s normal life.”
Protestant, Roman Catholic and Jewish chapels have been built on the academy premises throughout the years, although at its inception, Cadet Chapel was the sole house of worship for cadets. A new interfaith chapel is noted on the West Point website.